Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire after 11 days of war
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire after 11 days of war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza strip and brought much of life in Israel to a standstill.
Celebrations were heard on Gaza streets in the minutes after the truce began as cars honked their horns and some guns were fired in the air, AFP journalists said, while in the occupied West Bank, joyful crowds also took to the streets.
With no alerts sounding in Israel to warn of incoming Hamas rockets, the ceasefire appeared to be holding in the early hours of Friday.
The truce brokered by Egypt, that also included Gaza’s second-most powerful armed group, Islamic Jihad, was agreed following mounting international pressure to stem the bloodshed which erupted on May 10.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who had urged the UN Security Council to issue a call for an end to Israel’s devastating violence against the Palestinians in Gaza, welcomed the ceasefire.
“This is the power of collective, unified action. This is the effort of every person and every nation, together for a just cause. May this ceasefire be the first step towards peace in Palestine,” he said.
“Israel’s occupation of Palestine must end, and illegal settlements and apartheid-like regime imposed in the occupied territories must be dismantled. Implementation of UN [resolution] for the establishment of independent and contiguous Palestinian State with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, imperative.”